November 2016 India Festivals and Events Guide

What's On in India in November

Wondering what to see and do in India in November? November is an excellent month to visit India. The weather is starting becoming cooler and dryer, and the full moon at this time of year -- in the Hindu month of Kartika -- is considered to be particularly auspicious. You'll find fairs and religious celebrations happening all over the country.

Here's the best of what's on in November in India (listed by date). This article has two pages, so don't overlook clicking on "Next" at the bottom of this page, to go to page two.

  • 01 of 18
    Camels on Great Rann salt desert.
    ••• Camels on Great Rann salt desert. Morten Falch Sortland/Getty Images

    This desert festival highlights the vibrancy of the Kutch region's culture and heritage, although it's become increasingly commercial and overcrowded. The days are filled with folk dances and music, adventure sports, handicrafts, food stalls, and excursions to surrounding destinations. Hundreds of luxury tents are set up on the fringe of the white salt desert to accommodate visitors. Gujarat Tourism offers packages. Read reviews on Tripadvisor.

    • When: November 1, 2016-February 20, 2017. It's best on full moon nights to see the moon shining on the salt. (November 14, December 14, January 12, and February 11). 
    • Where: Great Rann of Kutch salt desert, Dhordo, Gujarat.
  • 02 of 18
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    ••• Christer Fredriksson/Getty Images.

    Organized by Nada Yoga School every year since 2008, the International Yoga and Music Festival features 50 of the best professional yoga teachers, Ayurvedic doctors, nad yogis, yoga lecturers, musicians, and philosophers from Rishikesh and abroad. Free classes and lectures are held with topics including yoga asanas, shatkarma, Ayurveda, philosophy, and Indian classical music. There's an Indian classical music concert in the evenings as well. 

    • When: November 1-7, 2016.
    • Where: Rishikesh, Uttarakhand.
  • 03 of 18

    Chhath Puja

    ••• Wikimedia Commons

    This north Indian festival, traditionally celebrated by the people of Bihar, is devoted to worshiping the sun. People flock to the water's edge to  offer prayers to the Sun God at sunset. Hymns and folk songs are sung, and women fast and pray for the well being of their family and friends.

    • When: November 6, 2016. (Chhath Sandhya Argh evening prayers).
    • Where: Across India, particularly in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Assam, and West Bengal. The banks of the Ganges River in Varanasi are another excellent tourist place to see it. A Chhath Puja also takes place on Juhu Beach in Mumbai.
  • 04 of 18
    ••• Anthony Cassidy/Getty Images

    This traditional Indian style festival sees an astonishing 30,000 camels converge on the tiny desert town of Pushkar. The camels are dressed up, shaved, entered into beauty contests, paraded, raced, and traded. An entertaining sight indeed! Do arrive a couple of days before the official starting date to catch the most camel trading action.

    • When: November 8-14, 2016.
    • Where: Pushkar, Rajasthan.
    Continue to 5 of 18 below.
  • 05 of 18
    ••• Awakening / Getty Images.

    The three-day International Hot Air Ballooning Festival is an added attraction at the Pushkar Camel Fair.  Similar to the Taj Balloon Festival in Agra, it's hosted by Sky Waltz, and features hot air balloons from around the world and a Night Glow Music Concert. Accommodation and balloon flight packages are offered for visitors.

    • When: During the Pushkar Camel Fair.
    • Where: Pushkar, Rajasthan. 
  • 06 of 18
    ••• Rikynti Marwein/ Flickr/CC BY NC SA 2.0

    Also know as the 100 Drum Wangala Festival, this is the biggest harvest festival of Meghalaya's Garo tribe in northeast India. Held in honor of the Sun God of fertility, the festival marks the end of the sowing season and agricultural year. It's celebrated by the beating of drums, blowing horns, and traditional dancing. Festival highlights include a traditional dance competition among Wangala troupes from the Garo Hills, slow-cooking competition, indigenous games, and handloom and handicrafts exhibition.

  • 07 of 18

    Ganga Mahotsav and Dev Deepavali

    ••• Martin Harvey/Getty Images

    Held along the banks of the holy Ganges River, this festival features cultural programs of classical music and dance. The highlight of the festival is on the last day, when more than a million clay lamps are floated down the river at dusk amidst chanting of Vedic hymns as part of Dev Deepavali.

    • When: November 11-14, 2016.
    • Where: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
  • 08 of 18
    Rajasthan Kabir Yatra
    ••• Rajasthan Kabir Yatra

    This remarkable traveling festival is back for the second edition this year. It shares the power of Bhakti and Sufi music and poetry, with the aim of promoting communal peace and harmony. Artists from Kutch, Malwa, Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi will perform along with those from Rajasthan. The festival will also feature works of painters, sculptors and photographers inspired by the Sufi-Bhakti tradition.

    • When: November 11-16, 2016.
    • Where: Bikaner and surrounding villages in Rajasthan.
    Continue to 9 of 18 below.
  • 09 of 18
    India Surf Festival.
    ••• India Surf Festival. Sharell Cook.

    The annual India Surf Festival is into its fifth year in 2016, and will be bigger and better than ever! It features way more than just surfing. Organized by the Surfing Yogis (a group of like-minded people who combine surfing, yoga, and nature), it's an eco-friendly celebration of oneness that provides a creative platform for freedom of expression encompassing adventure, music, dance, art, and photography.  There's also early morning beach yoga, and workshops ranging from longboarding to stand-up paddle boarding.

  • 10 of 18

    Kolayat Fair (Kapil Muni Fair)

    ••• Terry J Alcorn/Getty Images

    The largest fair of Bikaner district, in India's desert state of Rajasthan, the Kolayat Fair combines a huge cattle fair with a pilgrimage to the town's holy lake. It's quite a spectacle as buffaloes, camels, horses and cattle are traded, and pilgrims bathe and float clay lanterns in the lake.

    • When: November 12-14, 2016.
    • Where: Kolayat, near Bikaner, Rajasthan.
  • 11 of 18

    Chandrabhaga Fair

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    ••• Keren Su/Getty Images.

    Cattle market meets mass bathing ceremony at this regional equivalent of the Pushkar Fair. The Chandrabhaga River is holy to Hindus and it attracts many pilgrims who come to take a bath on the occasion of Kartik Purnima. The fair is also quite a big one, with buffaloes, camels, cows, bullocks and horses on sale. Rajasthan Tourism organizes cultural events as well.

    • When: November 13-15, 2016. 
    • Where: Jhalawar, Rajasthan.
  • 12 of 18

    Guru Nanak Jayanti

    ••• www.flickr.com user appaji

    This event is a commemoration of Guru Nanak's birthday (he was the founder of the Sikh religion), and is widely celebrated throughout Punjab but especially so at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the main shrine of the Sikhs. The day of the festival sees the holy book carried out of the temple in a huge procession, accompanied by music and drummers. The beautifully illuminated temple is an incredible sight to behold at this time.

    • When: November 14, 2016.
    • Where: Amritsar, Punjab.
    Continue to 13 of 18 below.
  • 13 of 18
    Sonepur Fair.
    ••• Christopher Pillitz / Getty Images

    Another festival that takes place along the banks of the Ganges River, you can see thousands of devotes (and elephants!) taking a holy dip. Livestock is traded at the fairground, including a large number of elephants. There's also an array of shops selling all kinds of merchandise.

    • When: For a month, starting November 14, 2016. (Make sure you arrive by November 13 so you can see the devotees bathing in the river at sunrise on November 14, Kartik Purima).
    • Where: Sonepur, around 25 kilometers from Patna, Bihar.
  • 14 of 18
    ••• John Sones Singing Bowl Media/Getty Images.

    Bundi is a picturesque spot in the Hadoti region in Rajasthan. The Bundi Utsav brings it alive with the culture, folklore, traditions and craft of the region. The festival commences with a procession, and features an arts and crafts fair, traditional rural sports, cultural exhibition, and folk/classical music and dance program. There's even a turban competition. Fireworks cap off the festival.

    • When: November 17-19, 2016.
    • Where: Bundi, Rajasthan.
  • 15 of 18
    Erotic sculptures at Khajuraho.
    ••• Bhaskar Krishnamurthy/Getty Images.

    Suitable for both couples and singles, the Osho International Tantra Festival features a line up of renowned international Tantra teachers and healers. It consists of different Tantra and Biodanza workshops every day, a healing temple, live traditional music from Baul musicians, DJs and dance parties, Osho active meditations, Love Lounge, and sacred ceremonies. The theme this year is the "The Senses", and there will be a special Sensorium divided into various sense experience zones.

    • When: November 18-23, 2016. This is followed by an optional two day Living Tantra experience of co-habitating in a Tantric community.
    • Where: Zorba the Buddha Center, Delhi.
  • 16 of 18

    Matsya Festival

    ••• Peter Adams/ Getty Images

    The Matsya Festival showcases Rajasthani culture and heritage at its best. Attractions include exhibitions, competitions, sports, folk music, songs and dances.

    • When: November 25-26, 2016.
    • Where: Alwar, Rajasthan.
    Continue to 17 of 18 below.
  • 17 of 18
    Yoga in Goa.
    ••• Image Source/Getty Images

    This rejuvenating seven-day retreat offers a restorative blend of nature, meditation, yoga, spiritual lectures, kirtan, spa treatments, kayaking, and vegetarian Indian food on one of Goa's most peaceful beaches.

    • When: November 28-December 3, 2016.
    • Where: Riva Beach Resort, Mandrem beach, Goa.
  • 18 of 18
    Taj Mahal and river.
    ••• Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Images.

    Fancy a peaceful bird's-eye view of the Taj Mahal, away from the crowds? Don't miss the first Taj Balloon Festival, hosted by Sky Waltz (the premier hot air ballooning company in India) in conjunction with Uttar Pradesh Tourism. Hot air balloonists from 15 countries around the world will grace the skies. In the evening, enjoy live music performances under the warm glow of the hot air balloons. Luxury package tours, including balloon flights, are available.